A Practical Pleasure, the 2019 Honda Passport AWD Elite

The week that I test drove the Honda Passport came with a week’s worth of surprises for me. I had no idea how little I knew about this vehicle. The first thing I noticed was the roominess. The inside was wide and felt very much like a minivan. The CR-V is familiar, my ninety year old grandmother has one as does my best friend’s 20 year old daughter, so I am familiar with the versatility and appeal. The Pilot, I am also familiar with, as it is widely seen in my neck of the woods. Not having seen many Passports or even driven one, I now hope to see more, as it is such a practical vehicle. The Honda Passport is a midsize five passenger SUV.  Here is what I discovered:

The Passport being slightly smaller was a great thing for maneuvering around town, which I do a lot of! I work in North Dallas and contend with traffic every single morning; and not that needed in traffic, but the Passport provided an abundance of get-up-and-go. Parking in tight spaces was a non-issue for the non-bulky Passport. I would choose this SUV over the Honda Pilot any day for this reason alone. 

Let me expound for a moment on the ‘get-up-and-go’……The Passport has a 3.5-liter V-6 engine with 280 horsepower and nine-speed automatic transmission (same as the Honda Pilot). The Passport, being smaller, seems to move quicker. Front-wheel drive is standard. When you opt for all-wheel-drive you get four different drive settings: Normal, Sand, Snow, and Mud. And though the Passport isn’t a vehicle you would opt to off-road in, it does have a ground clearance of 7.5 inches. It can also tow up to 5,000 pounds.

With four trim levels to choose from: Sport, EX-L, Touring or Elite, I test drove the Elite.

Standard features for the Sport model include: 20-inch wheels, LED headlights, keyless access and ignition, tri-zone automatic climate control, LED exterior lighting and an audio system with six speakers, along with the Honda Sensing suite of driver-assistance features. These features include: adaptive cruise control, forward-collision warning, automated emergency braking, lane-departure warning with lane-keep steering assist. The non touch display screen on the base Passport is 5-inch while the optional model has an 8-inch touchscreen.

The EX-L model adds a power lift gate, leather upholstery, heated front seats with adjustable power, a sunroof, blind-spot monitor, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as well as extra USB ports, and I don’t think I have ever heard of anyone complaining of extra USB ports.

The Touring edition adds heated rear seats, a hands-free lift gate, front and rear parking sensors, and a 10-speaker sound system.

The Elite package spoiled me for the week with ventilated front seats (an important feature to add for a Texas driver in the summer), auto-dimming side mirrors, a heated steering wheel, LED interior lighting and a wireless smartphone charging pad.

The Passport is practical. Getting in and out of the vehicle is easy and the seating positions are comfortable. It sits exactly as you’d expect an SUV to sit, slightly high but not uncomfortable. The “slightly high” is useful because it means that visibility is actually quite good. Plenty of headroom and legroom for all passengers in the Passport, even the back seat is roomy and easy to access. Interior materials were high quality with soft-touch, feel good plastics.

Honda did a great job with noise cancellation, road and wind noise are minimal. Ride quality was not abandoned either, body roll is light, and bumpy roads afforded no dilemma.

The Elite Passport that I test drove had a touchscreen that was user friendly. Another new discovery for me was the exclusive push-button shifter; while it took some getting used to, I actually liked it. Not only did its uniqueness make it fun but it just made sense, as it was not only in the perfect spot but it was also super convenient.

Front-wheel drive Passports receive 25 mpg/highway, 20 mpg/city for a combined 22 mpg. The AWD as test driven reduces that figure by 1 mpg.

The Elite Passport has the standard 20-inch wheels just as the other trims do, however the Elite is characterized by its five-spoke blacked out wheels.

Cargo space in the Passport with the rear seat in use is 41 cubic feet, folded, that amount increases to 78 cubic feet.

Passport prices begin at $31,990. The Elite as test driven prices out at $44,725.

You cannot miss what you do not know, now that I know about this little gem, I hope to keep discovering more about it; other than practical, it truly was a pleasure to drive.

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